|Portrayed by||Eve Morey|
|First appearance||14 August 2009|
|Introduced by||Susan Bower|
|Occupation||Guide dog trainer
Garden nursery owner
|Home||30 Ramsay Street|
Sonya Rebecchi (previously Mitchell) is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Eve Morey. The actress successfully auditioned for the role and began filming in June 2009. She made her first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 14 August 2009. Sonya was initially introduced as a recurring guest character, but Morey was promoted to the regular cast in July 2010.
Sonya is portrayed as being good-hearted, funny and loving. She was once addicted to alcohol and gambling, but moved to Erinsborough for a fresh start. While working as a guide dog trainer, Sonya met Toadfish Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney) and they began dating, but the relationship ended when Toadie got back together with his ex-girlfriend Stephanie Scully (Carla Bonner). However, once Sonya learned the relationship was a sham, she agreed to wait for Toadie and they eventually got back together.
Sonya's younger sister, Jade (Gemma Pranita), was later introduced. Sonya and Jade initially had a rocky relationship, but became more supportive of each other. Jade's arrival also precipitated the revelation that Sonya is Callum Jones's (Morgan Baker) biological mother. Other storylines for the character have seen her open her own garden nursery and give birth to a daughter. Sonya has become popular with viewers and Morey has received nominations for Best Daytime Star at the 2011 and 2012 Inside Soap Awards.
Morey successfully auditioned for the role of Sonya and joined the cast in June 2009 in a recurring capacity. Morey made her first screen appearance as Sonya during the episode broadcast on 14 August 2009. A year later, it was announced that Sonya had been promoted to the regular cast and a writer for Holy Soap said that viewers would be seeing a lot more of her in the future. In February 2011, Morey signed a new contract to stay with Neighbours for another year. She told the Daily Star, "It was great to know I'd be working for a year – from a struggling actor's point of view that is fantastic. But it also meant there is a year's worth of developing the character because she will become part of the bigger storylines instead of supporting." Morey added that she was loving her time on the show and the people she was working with.
Sonya is an animal lover who has previously worked for Guide Dogs Victoria. She is good-hearted and relished her role as a trainer. A writer for Network Ten's Neighbours website described Sonya has having a shady past and wanting to set up a new life for herself in Erinsborough. Sonya used to have alcohol, drug and gambling addictions, but she has worked hard to overcome them. Morey told a reporter from Channel 5 that she is similar to Sonya morally and ethically, plus they both want the best for the people they love. However, Sonya occasionally goes about things in a way in which Morey said she did not understand. The actress also struggled to understand the place of darkness that Sonya has been in too. When asked if her character could ever escape her past, Morey replied "I don't think she will every truly escape her past because ultimately I don't think she should. If she doesn't have it there as a reminder and a good motivator to help her stay on track." Morey revealed she would like to see Sonya reach her potential as a mother in the future.
In an interview with a What's on TV journalist, Morey said viewers relate to Sonya because she is "pretty normal". The actress noted that Sonya is not glamorous and there is "something quite humbling about her." Morey went on to say that Sonya's heart is usually in the right place and she always tries to do the right thing for the right reasons. Of her character's development, Morey explained "She has become a lot more self-assured and she has learnt to trust herself again. I think when we first met her, she was quite closed off and didn't want to let anyone in fear of hurting them." Sonya decides to give up her job as a guide dog trainer to buy and turn the community garden into a garden nursery. Morey told Jason Herbison from Inside Soap that she thought that the garden was symbolic of what Sonya is doing in her personal life. She explained "She made a lot of mistakes when she was younger. Now she just wants to plant beautiful things and watch them grow. She's very focused on that for now."
Relationship with Toadfish Rebecchi
When Sonya is sent to check up on the progress of Toadfish Rebecchi's (Ryan Moloney) guide dog puppy, Rocky, she "soon found love" with the lawyer. Sonya and Toadie began a relationship and Moloney thought that Sonya was perfect for Toadie. Moloney quipped "She's funny and a little bit zany and really accepting and loving as well." However, their romance comes to an end when Toadie tells Sonya that he has got back together with his ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Scully (Carla Bonner). A Sunday Mail reporter said Sonya was "simply heartbroken" and "devastated" after she was told about Toadie and Steph's relationship. However, she is unaware that Toadie is pretending to be in love with Steph to help cover up the fact she is carrying Daniel Fitzgerald's (Brett Tucker) child. Toadie becomes torn when Sonya tells him she loves him, but he carries on the lie. Of the situation, Moloney said "Toadie is in love with Sonya, but he's had to give up the chance to follow his heart. Now we see that he really wants nothing more than to be able to tell her he loves her and that he wants to be with her – but he just can't."
Toadie realises that Sonya still loves him when he notices she is still wearing the bracelet he gave her. Sonya tells him that she is not ready to take it off. Sonya tries to move forward with her life and starts dating David Foster (Ben Ridgwell). However, she is struggles with her feelings for Toadie. Morey told TV Week that Sonya is "completely in love with Toadie, but she's trying to move on as best she can – and that's where David comes into the picture." Despite only being with David for three weeks, Sonya agrees to move to Perth with him. Morey said that Sonya believes she has nothing left keeping her in Erinsborough and she wants a change of scenery. Sonya chooses not to tell Toadie that she leaving, so Lucas Fitzgerald (Scott Major) tells him instead. Steph then comes by and tells Sonya that Toadie still loves her and that their relationship is sham. Steph asks Sonya to stay if she wants more information and Steph later tells her that the baby is not Toadie's. Sonya is left shocked and relieved at the same time. Sonya agrees to wait for Toadie. When Steph's secret is eventually revealed, Sonya and Toadie start their relationship over. Morey told Herbison that due to how the relationship between Sonya and Toadie developed, it gave them a sense of history when they did finally get together.
Morey revealed that she would like to see Sonya and Toadie have children together in the future. She told a Press Association reporter, "I would love it. I think there is so much richness in Toadie and Sonya going on that journey together which lends itself to humour, sadness, more drama. Cross fingers they will go down that path." Morey also hoped Sonya could be happy in the future. Morey told the official UK Neighbours website in July 2011 that Sonya and Toadie would start to have some excitement and fun again following all the drama, but they would have to deal with a few issues first. When the subject of marriage comes up, Sonya and Toadie realise that they have different views about it. Morey explaind, "At this point Sonya wants to get married for the wrong reasons, and Toadie doesn't want to get married for the wrong reasons. They haven't both independently reached a healthy perspective on it. She wants to do it for security to protect Callum, and he doesn’t want to do it... He feels it will jinx [their relationship], because his other marriages have gone that way." Morey added that Sonya and Toadie have reached a point in their relationship where they have to make some big decisions, which could change the direction they move in.
In January 2012, Moloney told Sue Yeap from The West Australian that while Sonya is the one for Toadie, they would not get married anytime soon. The actor thought that his character did not need a piece of paper and a ring to tell the world that Sonya is "the love of his life." Sonya and Toadie begin planning to have a baby and Morey stated that she was "deliriously broody" at the prospect of her character becoming pregnant. She admitted that she loved the journey the couple had been on as they try to start a family, although she thought Sonya might go over the top with the situation, which would make it hard for those around her. She also believed that Sonya and Toadie would make "wonderful parents" because of the amount of thought they had put into the decision. She added that Toadie has always wanted a child of his own, while Sonya has wanted to make up for her past problems. After failing to fall pregnant, Sonya gives up hope that she and Toadie will naturally conceive a child and she goes through a "mourning process", before trying to move on. However, during a blood drive, Sonya is asked to take a blood test and it comes back positive. Both Sonya and Toadie are shocked, but delighted by the news.
Sister and secret
In late 2010, Sonya's younger sister, Jade (Gemma Pranita) was introduced to the serial. A reporter from the Herald Sun stated that Jade's arrival would see her expose "a dark secret" held by Sonya. Before Jade arrived in Erinsborough, she and Sonya had been estranged from each other for seven years. Jade contacts Sonya out of the blue, leaving her "mortified" by the call. Pranita told Jackie Brygel from TV Week, "Sonya's response is 'Why are you calling me? Why now? Don't come anywhere near me!' But Jade keeps ringing and harassing Sonya and then rocks up on her doorstep." Pranita explained that Jade and Sonya share a bad history and that Jade has been holding on to one of Sonya's darkest secrets, which the people in Sonya's life know nothing about. The actress thought that Jade's appearance would "completely rock the boat", especially as she has the potential to cause trouble for her sister and expose her for lying to everyone.
During an interview with a Channel 5 journalist, Morey revealed that the last time the siblings saw each other, they were at their grandmother Hilda's (Maureen Edwards) home and Sonya was in "a very bad place". This causes Sonya to think that Jade might be in town to get some form of revenge. The sister's relationship is initially "rocky" and Sonya tries to get rid of Jade, before she can meet Toadie and his son, Callum. However, she runs out of time and Jade quickly realises that Callum is actually the child Sonya gave up to be raised by their grandmother. Jade demands an explanation and then urges her sister to tell the truth. However, after Jade sees how happy Sonya is, she becomes "fiercely supportive" of her. Pranita noted "It's almost the Mitchell sisters against Ramsay Street."  Morey told Jason Herbison that she could not have asked for a better pretend sister in Pranita, adding that they had become good friends off-screen.
Jade's reappearance in Sonya's life precipitated the revelation that Sonya is Callum's biological mother. Morey admitted that she was "shocked" and "stunned" when the producers told her about the development for her character. She questioned how the storyline would come together, since there had never been any indication that Sonya was Callum's mother before. Morey explained "Initially, I thought, 'How could this work – Sonya being Callum's mum?', but then I realised it does work. All of a sudden, it creates even more depth and complexity to Sonya and the decisions she's made and her motivations for things like forgiving Toadie for his and Steph's sham marriage. There's this whole other layer." Morey called the storyline "phenomenal" and noted that it would change everything that viewers thought they knew about why Sonya became part of Toadie and Callum's lives. Morey researched how other people had reacted to similar situations and came to realise that the pieces fall into place, despite it being "a leap." She stated that Sonya had entered Callum's life, not to get him back, but to see if he was okay. However, she then fell in love with Toadie. The actress believed that it was not Sonya's intention to "plant herself in their lives", but it just happened.
When she was asked how Callum does not remember Sonya, Morey explained that Sonya had fallen in with a bad crowd, was an alcohol and drugs addict and was suffering from post-natal depression. She chose to leave Callum with her grandmother, Hilda, so she could get herself cleaned up. Hilda then had everything related to Sonya removed from the family. Callum was around four or five when Sonya left and Morey believed that he had blocked out the bad memories of her. Morey commented that Sonya's relationship with Callum would have been "a love-hate one" because she was only 16 when she had him. He would have become like a younger brother to her rather than a son. Executive producer Susan Bower defended the storyline when asked why Sonya and Callum's history had been rewritten. She told an Inside Soap columnist that they worked with the character's established backgrounds and found reasons and motivations for Sonya to act the way she did. Bower admitted that the only discrepancy that could be pointed out was Callum's age. When Hilda dies, Sonya becomes concerned that her secret will be revealed when Callum attends the funeral. However, Callum chooses to say goodbye to his great-grandmother privately, much to Sonya's relief.
Callum then explains that he wants to find his real mother and tell her that he hates her, which devastates Sonya. She tells her sister that she cannot tell him the truth now as she cannot handle him looking at her, knowing what she did. Callum steps up his investigation into the identity of his mother and is injured in an accident while looking for clues. At the hospital, he recalls a memory about his mother and realises that she is Sonya. Toadie then "angrily orders" Sonya to leave. Of the revelation, Morey said "For Toadie, it's a betrayal to both him and his son. He's angry, but his initial priority is to make Callum number one." Morey quipped that filming the scenes was "exhausting." The actress also explained that Toadie's reaction to finding out that Sonya is Callum's real mother was one of devastation, he has to question whether Sonya ever loved him or was only with him to get Callum. Morey told a writer for What's on TV that it had been "fun" to see Sonya change when she could finally be a mother to Callum. She added that Sonya would probably struggle with everything that happened with Callum, but she should remember that she has been forgiven.
Sonya comes to Ramsay Street to assess the progress of Callum Jones and Toadfish Rebecchi's guide dog puppy, Rocky. She notes Rocky needs some extra lessons and offers to help. Toadie asks Sonya out, but she turns him down, telling him she does not date clients. Toadie comes to believe Sonya is romantically involved with his friend Lucas Fitzgerald (Scott Major), when he sees them together. However, Sonya reveals she is actually Lucas's Gamblers Anonymous sponsor. Sonya and Toadie grow closer and they eventually begin dating. Toadie leaves Sonya to visit his best friend, Steph (Carla Bonner). On his return, he devastates Sonya when he reveals he is in a relationship with Steph. Sonya tells Toadie she is in love with him, but he rejects her. Lucas tries to use Sonya to make Toadie jealous, which causes a brief rift between them. Sonya relapses and visits a racing track, before going to a club and getting drunk. Libby Kennedy (Kym Valentine) takes her home to Lucas and Sonya tells him she will sort herself out. She later learns Toadie and Steph are getting married and are expecting a baby together.
Sonya begins dating David Foster and decides to move to Perth with him. Steph seeks Sonya out and tells her the upcoming wedding is a sham and Toadie is not the father of her baby, Libby's estranged husband is. Toadie is just helping her cover up the secret. Sonya and Lucas attend the wedding and at the reception, Sonya agrees to wait for Toadie. Steph's secret is revealed and Sonya and Toadie begin dating again. Toadie learns Sonya has a criminal record and Sonya explains during the grip of her addictions, she accidentally broke her sister's arm. Her sister pressed assault charges to give Sonya a wake up call. Sonya moves in with Toadie and Callum and her sister, Jade, comes to see her. Jade tells Sonya she just wants to catch up with her, but Sonya asks her to leave. When Jade meets Callum, she recognises his name and works out he is Sonya's son. Sonya begs Jade not to reveal the truth and Jade agrees. Sonya and Jade's grandmother, Hilda, dies, devastating them both. Hilda's death prompts Callum to try and find his mother. Callum starts having dreams about his mother, but he cannot see her face.
Callum has a fall and is rushed to hospital. When he wakes up, he realises Sonya is his mother. Sonya confirms this and Toadie, angry that she lied to him, asks her to leave. She and Jade move in with Lucas. Callum asks Sonya why she left him and Sonya explains she was in a bad place and it was better for Callum if she was not around. Callum makes Sonya promise not to relapse, angering Toadie. Sonya eventually tells Callum it would be impossible to keep the promise. Sonya's ex-boyfriend, Troy Miller, comes to Ramsay Street. Troy and Sonya talk about their past and Troy remembers Sonya became pregnant. She then confesses Callum is his son. Sonya introduces Callum to Troy and she tries to reconnect with Toadie. Troy tells Sonya he loves her and Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) witnesses them sharing a kiss. However, Sonya realises she still loves Toadie and they get back together at Harold's wedding. Troy does not take the news well and he locks Sonya in his hotel room. After trying to force her into having an emotional breakdown, Sonya tells him to leave.
Sonya moves back in with Toadie and Callum and when she learns the council are planning to sell off the community gardens, she decides to buy the land and turn it into a garden nursery. Sonya is unsuccessful in getting a loan by herself, but Toadie begins working for a law firm and gets the loan. Sonya buys the garden at the auction. On the same day, she has a pregnancy scare and tells Toadie she would like to have children with him in the future. Sonya supports Toadie when he begins representing a company planning to build a shopping complex in Erinsborough, despite the risk to her own business. Sonya and Toadie decide to bring their plans to try for a baby forward. Sonya then admits to Toadie that she came off the pill months ago and she is worried something is wrong as she has not fallen pregnant. Sonya and Toadie undergo fertility tests and Rhys Lawson (Ben Barber) reveals Toadie has a low sperm count, making conception harder. When Sonya learns Lucas is having a baby with Vanessa Villante (Alin Sumarwata) following a one-night stand, she tells Toadie that she no longer wants to try for a baby. Toadie suggests they try IVF or a sperm donor, but Sonya knows it is not what either of them want.
When Sonya attends a blood drive, she is asked to take a pregnancy test before giving blood. Believing the test will be negative, Sonya throws it away. However, Rhys retrieves it and reveals that she is pregnant. Troy moves next door to Sonya and Toadie and reveals that he is trying to gain access to Callum. When Toadie punches him, Troy gets an intervention order out and Toadie is forced to leave the street. Sonya collapses from stress, but her baby is unharmed. Jade admits that she dated Troy when she was younger and that he physically abused her. Sonya learns Callum is spending time with Troy, so he will drop the custody case and intervention order. When Troy refuses to let Callum leave his house, Sonya and Jade force their way in. Troy locks them inside and explains that all he wanted to do was get to know his son. Jade and Sonya manage to escape, while Troy falls and sustains a head injury. Troy discharges himself from hospital and goes to get Callum from school. Sonya and Toadie arrive and after a confrontation, Troy decides to leave. He then falls unconscious at the wheel of his truck and dies.
Sonya and Toadie learn that they are having a girl and when Sonya finds a photo of Nell Mangel, she decides to name her daughter Nell. Toadie's cousin, Georgia (Saskia Hampele), moves in and she initially annoys Sonya, until they bond over the baby. Toadie proposes to Sonya and she accepts. Sonya goes into labour two weeks early. When her water breaks, she realises that there is meconium in the fluid and is rushed to hospital, where she gives birth to Nell (Scarlett Anderson) via caesarean section. Sonya fall unconscious and has to undergo surgery for internal bleeding. She is soon reunited with Nell. While breastfeeding Nell in Charlie's a male customer complains to Natasha Williams (Valentina Novakovic), who asks Sonya to move somewhere else. Sonya leaves, but soon returns and demands an apology. Toadie's mother, Angie (Lesley Baker), arrives for Nell's naming day and instantly clashes with Sonya, who feels that Angie is criticising and undermining her parenting skills. When Sonya catches Angie going through her bag, she realises that Angie thinks she is on drugs and asks her to leave. Angie returns for the wedding and she and Sonya make up.
Sonya and Toadie get married. Shortly after, Sonya witnesses a row between Mason Turner (Taylor Glockner) and Robbo Slade (Aaron Jakubenko), following a failed attempt to rob Lassiter's. At the reception, a gas bottle explodes, destroying the marquee and knocking Sonya unconscious. A fractured skull and bleed on the brain, cause Sonya to suffer some memory loss and she cannot recall her wedding day. Toadie organises a surprise vow renewal ceremony and Sonya gets her memory back. She also reports Mason and Robbo to the police. Sonya's estranged uncle Walter (Chris Haywood) turns up in Erinsborough and tries to bond with Sonya and her family. Sonya learns Walter is an alcoholic and encourages him to attend AA meetings with her. Sonya is devastated when Walter steals money from the nursery and reveals that he is not the real Walter, but Dave. He explains that he met the real Walter at a half-way house, where they swapped stories about their lives. Sonya struggles with Dave's deception and becomes scared of relapsing, so she joins the local gym.
Robbo returns to Erinsborough and threatens Sonya. After several more weeks of trying to intimidating Sonya, Robbo spikes her drink at a photo exhibition; however, it is Toadie who drinks it. Robbo dies after being involved in a hit-and-run and Toadie suspects that he hit Robbo, as he is unable to remember that night. He becomes the prime suspect, but the real culprit comes forward. When Toadie is sued by Eric Edwards (Paul O'Brien), Sonya feels sorry for his wife, Mandy (Emelia Burns), who is getting the brunt of Eric's frustrations. Sonya arranges a dinner, so they can talk and work things out, but she ends up fighting with Toadie. However, this causes Mandy and Eric to realise they need to sort out their problems and Eric drops the lawsuit. Sonya begins an online blog about parenting and is soon contacted by a parent in need of help. Sonya arranges to meet them and is surprised to meet widower Jacob Holmes (Clayton Watson), who is raising his son, Elliott (Ryder Smyth) alone. Jacob leaves Elliott with Sonya and she fears he will never come back. She struggles to cope with two young children, especially when Elliott becomes sick. Toadie contacts Elliot's maternal grandparents despite Sonya's objections. Jacob soon returns and apologises for leaving Elliott. Jacob kisses Sonya and she ends their friendship. Before she can tell Toadie, Jacob asks for his help when his in-laws seek custody of Elliot.
For her portrayal of Sonya, Morey was nominated for Best Daytime Star at the 2011 and 2012 Inside Soap Awards. Holy Soap said Sonya's most memorable moment was when she attended Toadie's sham wedding to Steph and agreed to wait for him. The Daily Record called Sonya an "extremely nice girl" and said she had become popular with fans. The official UK Neighbours website said Sonya and Toadie's relationship had "seen more drama than most" and Bridget McManus of The Age branded Sonya a "clucky girlfriend." In July 2011, Morey's co-star Jackie Woodburne said Sonya was one of the best characters that had come into Neighbours in a long time. Alan Fletcher, who plays Woodburne's on screen husband, also praised Sonya and said the audience had really taken to her. The actor told What's on TV "They absolutely adore her. In a short space of time, Sonya was established as one of the favourite Neighbours characters. I think a lot of that has to do with the marvellous onscreen relationship that Eve has with Ryan Maloney (Toadie) and Morgan Baker (Callum)."
Holly Byrnes of the Herald Sun called Sonya "a beautiful woman." While Byrnes' colleague, Dianne Butler, said "Sonya's wondering how long they have to wait before they face the fact there could be something wrong with her. I say no time at all, Sonya. Which explains why she's gardening on her own in those opening credits." When Sonya and Toadie found out that they were expecting a baby, Claire Crick from All About Soap commented "At last – Sonya and Toadie are having a baby… and we can't think of a soapy couple who deserve such happy news! Not only do we totally love Toadie and Sonya (it's so refreshing seeing a couple who are happy together!), but they're also so clearly desperate to be parents." Crick later praised Sonya for helping Lucas and Vanessa realise their feelings for each other, saying "thank goodness for her meddling ways!" A Newcastle Herald reporter noted that Sonya "has seen more drama than most".
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